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Israeli-Arab lawmakers reject normalization deal with Emirates

Many Arab-Israelis disagree with the stance taken by the Joint List against the normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates.
Israeli Knesset member (MK) Miki Zohar (C) intervenes between Israeli-Arab MK Ayman Odeh (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) following an argument in the main Knesset chamber in Jerusalem on September 11, 2019. - A rare clash erupted between Netanyahu and Joint List Chairman Odeh on September 11 at the Knesset during a discussion ahead of a vote on a controversial, Likud party-sponspored bill to allow cameras in polling booths. (Photo by Gil COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GIL

The Knesset approved Oct. 15 the normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with an overwhelming majority. In the final vote, 80 Knesset members voted in support of the agreement, 13 opposed it — all of them from the Joint List — and 27 chose to absent themselves from the plenum. Now that the agreement has been approved by the Knesset, it will return to the Cabinet for its final approval. It will go into effect once the UAE ratifies it.

One thing that stuck out in the Knesset vote was the unanimous opposition to the agreement by all members of the Joint List who were present in the plenum. Chairman Ayman Odeh was absent due to his infection with the coronavirus, while Knesset member Jabar Asakla missed the vote because he was recovering from surgery. Nevertheless, the party’s public statements before the vote — linking their consent to progress on the Palestinian front — clarified well ahead that they were going to reject the deal. The irony is that their opposition happened just as Arab-Israeli soccer player Dia Saba made history by playing in the opening minutes of the game for Al-Nasr Dubai. Saba would never have been signed by the team were it not for the normalization agreement.

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